Christians face ‘organised persecution’ from Islamists in Middle East, says Prince Charles

Victims and family members of those being 'attacked' told the Prince about their experiences in the region

Christians in the Middle East are being “deliberately attacked” in a campaign of persecution led by Islamist militants, Prince Charles said.

Many minority religious organisations have fled the region in the turmoil following the Arab Spring, and in Egypt particularly violence against Coptic Christians saw a marked increase after Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi was overthrown.

Yesterday the Prince of Wales visited a number of British branches of churches based in the region, and heard from members whose families had suffered from religiously-motivated violence and murder.

Accompanied by Prince Ghazi of Jordan, he spoke to people at the Egyptian Coptic Church centre in Stevenage and the Syriac Orthodox cathedral in west London, before a reception at Clarence House with the Archbishops of Canterbury and Westminster and the Chief Rabbi.

“We cannot ignore the fact that Christians in the Middle East are, increasingly, being deliberately attacked by fundamentalist Islamist militants,” Prince Charles told the audience.

“For 20 years, I have tried to build bridges between Islam and Christianity and to dispel ignorance and misunderstanding.

“The point though, surely, is that we have now reached a crisis where the bridges are rapidly being deliberately destroyed by those with a vested interest in doing so.

“This is achieved through intimidation, false accusation and organised persecution, including to Christian communities in the Middle East at the present time.”

Prince Charles and Prince Ghazi bin Mohammad of Jordan (right) arrive for a visit to a Syriac Orthodox Church in London Prince Charles and Prince Ghazi bin Mohammad of Jordan (right) arrive for a visit to a Syriac Orthodox Church in London (Reuters) According to BBC News reports, Prince Charles said he felt deeply troubled by what he heard from victims yesterday.

“Christianity was, literally, born in the Middle East and we must not forget our Middle Eastern brothers and sisters in Christ,” he said.

Coptic Christians date their church back to the 1st Century, when it was founded by the apostle St Mark.

Christians as a whole make up around 10 per cent of the population in Egypt alone, yet they have increasingly become targets in violent attacks.

In one incident at the end of October masked gunmen opened fire on a wedding party leaving a Coptic church. Four people were killed, including an eight-year-old girl.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
News
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower